Category Archives: news

Current news in OS & OT

photo of Mary Law

Dr. Mary Law Appointed to Order of Canada

The Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy congratulates Dr. Mary Law on her appointment to the Order of Canada for her work in the field of occupational therapy.
Dr. Law has been instrumental in setting the standard for OS&OT research and shaping clinical practice in Canada. It is a well-deserved appointment!

Nominations for Alumni Achievement Awards

Nominations are now open for the University of Toronto PT & OT 2018 Alumni Achievement Awards.

The Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Alumni Achievement Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding alumni who have made exceptional contributions in their professions. The awards will be presented by the PT & OT Alumni Association at Alumni Reunion in June.

Nominations are due by 12:00 pm on March 15, 2018.

Download the nomination package to learn more about the awards, process and documentation required for submissions.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful contributions.
Additional information >>

Urgent Message Re: Call for Status-Only and Adjunct Lecturer Appointments

To all applicants for initial and renewal status-only and adjunct appointments:
Due to the technical difficulties we experienced with the Laserfiche system, which is presently back online, we have extended the application deadlines as follows:
Initial Appointment Applications due January 15, 2018 (January 22, 2018)
Renewal Appointment Applications due January 31, 2018 (February 7, 2018)

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we appreciate your patience in this matter.
The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is currently accepting applications for INITIAL and RE-APPOINTMENT for Status-Only and Adjunct Appointments for the term beginning July 1, 2018. We invite you to apply.

The deadline for submitting your INITIAL application is JANUARY 15, 2018 and for RE-APPOINTMENT, JANUARY 31, 2018. Please note that late applications will NOT be considered.

The academic goals of the Rehabilitation Sciences Sector cannot be met without the participation of talented individuals from many institutions and agencies outside of the university. The aim of Status-Only and Adjunct Appointments is to recognize the participation of highly qualified and dedicated researchers, practitioners and members of the community in the academic and clinical education components of the programs. These appointees augment the efforts and expertise of the full-time departmental faculty. We are seeking appointees who:

• maintain a high level of expertise and competence in their disciplines;
• are skilled at communicating expertise to members of their respective disciplines and the broader health care community;
• can stimulate, challenge and develop the scholarly and clinical capacity of students; and,
• contribute to the growth of the discipline by building the body of knowledge or advancing the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of practice.

For information about applying for a Status-Only position click here >>
For information about applying for an Adjunct position click here >>

Should you have any questions, please refer to the 2017-2018 Status-Only and Adjunct Rehab Sector Guidelines.
Additional information is also available here: Applying for Status Only or Adjunct Appointments

If you have questions, contact Annmarie Riley at:

SCHOOLFirst Project Supports Youths with Concussion

Holland Bloorview’s SCHOOLFirst project has received $125,000 in funding from the Federal Government. Dr. Nick Reed, Assistant Professor at OS&OT and co-director of Holland Bloorview’s Concussion Centre, is part of the team developing the SCHOOLFirst project whose goal is to support youths returning to school after a concussion.
Read the announcement from Holland Bloorview >>
Read the Press Release from the Government of Canada >>

Pictured from L to R: Dr. Nick Reed, co-director of Holland Bloorview’s Concussion Centre and clinician scientist; Becky Green, superintendent of education, student achievement and school operations, York Region District School Board (involved in SCHOOLFirst project); MP Rob Oliphant; Rose Kristiansen, CEO, PACE Concussion; and Stewart Wong, vice-president of marketing, communications, and advocacy, Holland Bloorview. (photo courtesy of Holland Bloorview)

MScOT Program and Curriculum materials now available on our website

The MScOT Program at the University of Toronto is guided by the Department’s Vision, Mission and Values, relevant evidence-based theories and practices,and national and international standards for education and competencies of occupational therapists. The complete 2017 MScOT Program and Curriculum Document, a video presenting an overview of our program and curriculum, and e-learning modules on the educational conceptual framework are now available on our website at MScOT Program & Curriculum Materials

U of T’s “gOT Spirit Challenge” on YouTube

Every year, U of T’s student occupational therapists participate in a national OT Month challenge for students across the country to demonstrate their enthusiasm for occupational therapy – the “gOT Spirit Challenge”. Our video for the 2017 “gOT Spirit Challenge” is now posted on YouTube, and it is terrific! Please watch it directly from YouTube and give the “thumbs up”. When you go the video on this page, simply click YouTube to watch. Or, click here.

The students from the OT school with the most YouTube views will win $500 to donate to a charity of their choice!

Tsering Wangmo

Tsering Wangmo Receives Dalai Lama Trust 2017 Graduate Scholarship

Tsering is in her second year of the Master’s program in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. As a Tibetan Canadian who was born and raised in Nepal, occupation only had one meaning for Tsering: the occupation of her homeland Tibet in 1959. When Tsering immigrated to Canada in 2004, she was fortunate to have settled in Toronto’s Parkdale community, located in the heart of one of the largest Tibetan diaspora in North America. During her first few years in Toronto, she found herself participating in meaningful activities at her school and local community centres, which played a vital role in helping to develop her Tibetan-Canadian identity. Adapting to the Canadian culture while preserving her Tibetan roots was challenging for Tsering; however, by holding core human values of compassion, tolerance, and self-discipline as promoted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, she was able to embrace challenges and view them as opportunities.

As a student training to become an occupational therapist, Tsering seeks to improve health, well-being, and quality of life through occupation; that is, anything meaningful to a person and occupies their time. Tsering has pursued opportunities in both clinical and community settings. She has worked with hospitalized elders to support them in their activities of daily living and help them to return to their homes and communities. She has also worked with children and youth as a special needs support staff and program director. Further, she continues to work in the Parkdale community to support children and youth recreational programs. Tsering aspires to support the transition of young Tibetan immigrants to Canada by offering activities with cultural and personal relevance and giving the term “occupation” a hopeful meaning for Tibetan-Canadians.

About the Dalai Lama Trust Graduate Scholarship: Each year, the Dalai Lama Trust selects ten to fifteen exceptional candidates of Tibetan descent to receive a scholarship award: “The purpose of the scholarship program is to further the human capital development of the Tibetan people by supporting the pursuit of excellence among Tibetan students in a field of graduate studies of their choice.”

Dr. Patty Rigby

Dr. Patty Rigby Retires from OS&OT

Dr Patricia Rigby retired from the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto on June 30, 2017, and was appointed Associate Professor Emerita effective July 1. Dr Rigby worked part-time as a faculty member throughout her 23-year career at University of Toronto, and was Graduate Coordinator from 2001 to 2008. She also worked as a Scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, retiring from there in 2012.

Dr Rigby’s passion was children’s rehabilitation. She conducted research to develop and evaluate assistive technologies for children and youth to examine the influence of environments on children’s play and participation, and to develop outcome measurement to evaluate rehabilitation services for children and their families. She was also a member of a team of occupational therapy (OT) academics who developed the Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) Model to guide OT practice. This
model is widely used by OTs around the world and has been cited extensively in the international OT literature. The PEO model places greater emphasis on the role of the environment within OT practice. Dr. Rigby published the book, Using Environments to Enable Occupational Performance (Letts, Rigby & Stewart, 2003), and contributed numerous chapters to prominent OT textbooks about OT and the environment.

Dr Rigby was a popular educator; she taught primarily about OT with children and the application of theory to OT practice. Dr. Rigby says that what she will miss the most is student contact through teaching, research supervision, advising, and mentoring. In fact, many former students have described how valuable her mentorship was, during the program and after they graduated.

During the past several years, Dr Rigby has established a formal connection with our alumni through the PT-OT Alumni Association, and the development of the alumni section of our website to bring recognition to alumni achievements, with the assistance of work-study students. Dr Rigby will continue in her Departmental role with alumni into her retirement.

In recognition of Dr Rigby’s retirement, members of the Department and Alumni have contributed donations towards the new Patty Rigby and John Wedge Scholarship in Science and Technology, which Dr Rigby and her husband created through the Faculty of Medicine to support occupational therapists in the doctoral stream program of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. Please contact Katie Rock, Senior Development Officer, at to donate to this scholarship.

OS&OT Alumna Named YMCA Woman of Excellence

Michelle Quintyn (‘81) is the President and CEO of Goodwill Industries, Ontario Great Lakes, and one of eight leaders recognized in 2017 as a YMCA woman of excellence in the category of Business and Professionals. These titles only begin to describe Michelle’s many accomplishments, as her passion for building and supporting inclusive communities began long before Michelle became an OT.

Michelle grew up in Southwestern Ontario, near London. While in high school, she worked in a nursing home where she first encountered marginalized populations. Michelle went on to study nursing at Ryerson University and worked in this role for a few years at Wellesley Hospital. As a nurse, Michelle was exposed to variety of practice settings and professionals, including OT. Over time, Michelle found herself increasingly fascinated by interior design and creating inclusive spaces and communities for people living with disability. Michelle soon returned to Toronto to pursue a degree in OT, with the intention of working in an administrative role after graduation.

Upon graduating, Michelle first worked as a clinical OT for a short time. In this role, she had a client with Parkinson’s and realized that there were no available support groups for this population. In collaboration with her client, Michelle became the founder of the Parkinson Society of Southwestern Ontario. Early in its origin, Michelle began to experience frustration that the organization was not earning anywhere near its capacity. In response to this realization, Michelle took it upon herself to learn about fundraising and development for healthcare to help the Society reach its full potential.

Although Michelle continued to volunteer with the Society for 9 years, she found herself moving on to a new role in 1986 as the founding Executive Director, University Hospital Foundation and Vice-President of Development of the Hospital in London, Ontario. In this role, Michelle was able to integrate her knowledge of OT, nursing, healthcare, and fundraising to help facilitate health and community development projects. More than a decade later, Michelle moved on to spearhead the re-development of London’s Covent Garden Market. Michelle’s OT background was particularly beneficial as she worked with 52 small businesses on various vocational pursuits. After the successful rebuild and launch of the market, Michelle found herself in her current role at Goodwill Industries.

Michelle described herself as ‘coming home to her OT career’ upon transitioning to Goodwill. This organization is one of the world’s largest social enterprises and the largest employer of individuals living with disabilities, per capita, in Ontario. Michelle’s background makes her the perfect fit to be President and CEO of Goodwill Industries. Goodwill emphasizes vocational employment for disadvantaged populations facing barriers to employment, including physical, mental, social challenges. Goodwill also supports functional planning of communities to enable equality and social inclusion. Michelle is able to use her OT background to consider a broad perspective of clients and better understand the barriers they face within their social contexts. Not only does Michelle’s OT background perfectly align with the missions of the organization, but she has also led Goodwill from an old, tired thrift business to a place of prosperity and community by using her functional planning and entrepreneurial skills. In the time Michelle has been with Goodwill, revenue has increased to $27 million and the number of employees have grown from 160 to 650 – many facing barriers such as disability and social disadvantage.

Michelle’s passion for her role stems from seeing clients’ lives transform through the power of work. Michelle’s clients are her inspiration, as she is able to witness individuals who began with little self-worth, minimal education, and limited social opportunity become productive citizens and leaders in their own right. Michelle plans to continue to help facilitate this transformation for individuals beyond Southwestern Ontario. She is now leading the charge to expand Goodwill into Toronto, and will strive to create over 900 jobs within the next 5 years.

We are so privileged to have such an accomplished woman as an alumni of our Department. She is a motivating force to all, and has helped transform the lives of many individuals. We can only wait to see what amazing things she will inspire in the future!